Pascaline Knight, Mariana Lafrance, Julie Lassonde

February 16th to March 30th, 2019

Exhibition from February 16th to March 30, 2019
Performing art on February 16th // Welcoming at 4 PM, performing art starting at 4:30 PM


For their first collaborative performance exploring the theme Nouvel-Ontario (New Ontario), Pascaline Knight, Mariana Lafrance and Julie Lassonde question the notion of welcoming and the conditions that foster its success or present challenges.

Having a house with wide open doors. Inhabiting your own body to be open to others. Being yourself, firmly standing on your own two feet. Welcoming supposes equilibrium between the individual and the collective, security and experimentation, risk and goodwill. Above all, it requires the freedom to consent to encountering the unknown.

Time, language and ego are structures that mask the immediacy of the body. The performances of these three artists reaffirm the notion of body awareness as the primal and founding place from which conscience and speech emerge. The here and the now might not be what they should be, but freeing gesture and language from their familiar mediators allows us to imagine other modes of togetherness.

Through a number of absurd or poetic gestures, individually or as a group, the three artists launch a conversation inspired by the childhood of persons and peoples to reveal the aspirations of a thriving Francophone community.

This artist residency project is part of the Place des Arts’ “Projet Manifeste.”

The artists

In performance and ad hoc action, Pascaline Knight uses the red margins and blue lines of Canada brand workbooks to reveal the links between presence and body. Her practice explores these implicit structures to reveal their unconscious normative power.

Mariana Lafrance creates absurd little worlds that combine fractured memories with an invitation to a wholesomely honest future. The games and wisdom of children, and the personal and collective spheres, collide and play off one another to create a vivid and dynamic installation.

Julie Lassonde’s practice mixes arts with justice. Through body movement in relation to objects and spaces, along with short texts, she aims to open avenues for reflection on the development of social norms.

Exhibition Sponsor

This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

Reading between the northern lines

an accompanying text by Sylvie Mainville

Viens is an invitation to delve into the familiar ― to drift along the thin blue lines of our time‑honoured Canada brand workbooks, the oh-so intimate card games and rituals of our childhood, the snowy expanses of our shared landscapes. Of this we are often and rightfully reminded: we come from somewhere. Three artists have invited us back.

First instruction upon entering the GNO’s public space: please remove your footwear.

But Viens is also an invitation to dive into the unfamiliar, where the workbook’s red margins become oddly faded, yet creep in here and there like a wallop of doubt that never could cross our minds until now, where new rules emerge and compel us, as if by intuitive magic, to play in new ways, where steadiness of movement is all it takes to provoke the birth of novel relationships.

The body serves to discover oneself and to discover others. Whatever the means ― walking, dancing, skating, snowshoeing, skiing ― you open up, despite the risks. Curiosity rules. You need only consent. I ask myself: Am I fit enough? Tall enough? Free enough?

Almost by chance, unawareness here stumbles into awareness there. It’s no longer a game. And we know all too well that nothing ever happens by chance. My all-powerful magic wands have gone silent, at least for now, while other repeated gestures bring new spheres to life. It’s bewildering. The little Canada workbook has morphed into a giant mattress stuffed with very personal vulnerabilities. The intimate self flows into the collective sphere, revealed for all to see. I can only shrink away and stand back to give it all the space it deserves.

In contact with brown kraft paper, snow seems to change colour merrily. I’m snow-oh-oh-oh-shoeing. But no, I’m wrong. It’s not snowshoeing; it’s a red animal in full flight. I have no idea where it’s heading, but I’m following.

In a moment of timeless presence, the nowhere slips into the now here and goes round and round. There’s but one thing to do: I knock back two more glasses of wine. The certainty of being from somewhere blurs away. There is no more North, no more Northern Ontario, no childhood snowshoes, no known instructions or norms… The certainty of being from somewhere becomes a fleeting intuition to pursue at your own risk. Truth be told, some nights, sleep does not come easy.

Duly noted: I can’t find my boots, but in my left pocket I discover an ace of hearts. Lucky me, I tell myself. Lucky me.